ATLANTA – The Jacksonville University women's basketball program (23-9, 11-3 ASUN Conference) concluded its 2016-17 season at Georgia Tech Thursday in its first-ever appearance in the Women's National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).
The final score read 71-55 in favor of the Yellow Jackets.
"The end result isn't what we wanted but I'm extremely proud of how we played," said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin. "The girls left it on the floor. I'm very proud of my team, and I'm thankful for the year we've had."
The Dolphins earned a postseason bid after a stellar campaign that tied the program's single-season win mark at 23. Season accolades also saw Sherranda Reddick, Christin Mercer and Brandi Buie named all-conference, and the most nonconference wins (11) and regular season wins (22).
Reddick, who became Jacksonville's all-time leading scorer earlier this year, concluded her collegiate career with a game-high 21 points and was one rebound shy of a double-double while Kayla Gordon tabbed her eighth of the year on 14 points and 10 boards.
Mercer, the Dolphins' second active senior, finished with six points and two rebounds.
"Our seniors can hang their hats knowing they were a part of a championship and the first WNIT appearance. The trajectory of this program is moving upward, and I look forward to us getting some rest and building on what we've started here."
Serving as the catalyst to a strong JU start, Reddick sank back-to-back three-pointers to push the Dolphins to an 8-4 advantage at the eight-minute mark. She finished the quarter as the lone double-digit scorer with 11 of JU's 22 points.
There were four ties and six lead changes in the opening period where GT held a slight 22-20 edge.
The Jackets created distance at the start of the second quarter with a 12-2 run, and were highly accurate in the stretch, making five of seven shots from the floor.
Mercer capped the run on a midrange jumper with 5:55 to go before the half.
Tech entered the locker room up, 44-32, with all but two of its 10 players contributing to the box score. Imani Tilford and Francesa Pan each recorded nine points in the half, while Gordon joined Reddick in the double-digit club with 11.
There was a lengthy stretch in the third where Tech was unable to score – the Jackets recorded one field goal through seven minutes – and the Dolphins used the gap to close their deficit to nine.
Gordon converted a pair of free throws to make the score, 49-40, at the 3:50 mark, and it marked the closest margin of the second half, as the Jackets went on to lead by as much as 20 in the final quarter.
Eight of Buie's points 10 points were recorded in the fourth stanza.